Image of a coastline on the Benguela Current © GIZ / Roman Sorgenfrei

Managing and protecting the Benguela Current marine ecosystem

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME)

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  • Commissioning Party

    International Climate Initiative (IKI), German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2014 to 2023

  • Other Stakeholders

    s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH

  • Products and expertise

    Climate, environment, management of natural resources

Standing in front of a map projected onto the wall showing the Benguela Current in Namibia, two men discuss biodiversity protection and mining zones. © GIZ MARISMA / Roman Sorgenfrei


The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) is one of the world’s most productive and biologically diverse marine regions. South Africa, Namibia and Angola depend on its natural resources. The main industries here include aquaculture, maritime transport and the extraction of oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals. Conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable management need to be mainstreamed more effectively in regional and national policies and in actions based on them.


Marine spatial planning (MSP) governs the maritime economy of the Benguela Current in an environmentally friendly manner and contributes to marine conservation.

People stand round a large planning map on a table as part of a marine spatial planning simulation game. © GIZ MARISMA / Linda Kasheeta


MSP is a decision-making process that governs when and where human activities take place in the Benguela Current. Conservation targets that concern biodiversity are integrated into the planning. MSP thus contributes towards maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

To this end, the project supports measures designed to develop capacities, which are implemented on a national scale by the governments of the three countries and on a regional scale in the context of the Benguela Current Convention. The goal is to provide learning opportunities and to gain experience from the practical implementation of MSP and the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs).

The project has drawn up marine spatial plans for each country, based on human activity in the regions. Work on EBSAs enables countries to introduce science-based management of their (transboundary) marine biodiversity.

The project also undertakes further activities to expand specialist knowledge and utilise expertise already available in the region – for instance through knowledge transfer and on-the-job training.

In addition, it implements a communication and awareness-raising strategy aimed at informing the public about the benefits of MSP and EBSAs. Lessons learned are shared in the individual countries, across the region and globally.

Last update: July 2023

People work together at round tables at a workshop in Namibia. © GIZ MARISMA / Linda Kasheeta

Additional information